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Nordoff Robbins is home to an innovative and vibrant team of on-site researchers with specialisms in the fields of music therapy, music psychology and music sociology.
The team's work is regularly published in specialist journals and they contribute to international conferences and lectures. The team sits within Music Services and is led by Dr Neta Spiro, Head of Research.
Research interests include musical interaction, collaboration and improvisation, music therapy assessment and evaluation.
How and why do so many different people participate in music? How and why does it help so many different people? How can we explore these questions? These questions run through my research and by asking such questions, I hope to contribute to music therapy.
My background is in music and cognitive sciences and my research has previously explored the relationships between music theory, performance and perception; the perception of musical phrases in western classical music and the use of music therapy in dementia care.
At Nordoff Robbins, my focus is on exploring what happens in music therapy and why, as well as how it is viewed by people who engage with it in different ways, what the effects of music therapy are seen to be and finding ways of contributing to the music therapy community.
I work with students on the Nordoff Robbins Master of Music Therapy course and at the Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge.
Understanding music therapy demands knowledge of a huge range of disciplines, and I am therefore keen to collaborate with groups and individuals working in related disciplines.
After an undergraduate degree in Philosophy and several years of teaching English language in the UK, Bolivia, and Mexico, Owen studied for an MA in Religions at SOAS, University of London. Combining an academic interest in religion and mysticism with a love of music, his research topics included politics and religion in 1920s gospel blues music, and musical and religious knowledge in Rastafari. An ethnographic dissertation involved studying with a group of Sufi qawwali musicians in London.
He then completed a PhD in Music and Religious Studies at the Open University, exploring how audiences of drone metal (an extremely slow and repetitive subgenre of heavy metal) understood and communicated about their listening in terms of mysticism, ritual and spirituality.
Owen’s other research has investigated different aspects of marginal religious traditions in relation to sound, music and noise, areas which he hopes to further explore in relation to music therapy.
Li-Ching completed her PhD at the Centre for Music and Science in the University of Cambridge and joined the Nordoff Robbins research team in 2016. Previously trained as a physiotherapist and musicologist, her PhD thesis explored the relationship between body movement and perception of rhythm. Her research interests include embodied music cognition, multicultural music perception and therapeutic effects of music. With clinical and teaching experience, Li-Ching hopes to contribute to music therapy in medical and educational fields.
Katie Rose Sanfilippo holds two undergraduate degrees from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles - She holds one BA in Music with an emphasis in vocal performance and choral conducting and another in psychology. She obtained an MSc in Music, Mind and Brain at Goldsmiths, University of London in 2015 andhe is currently a PhD student at Goldsmiths under the supervision for Prof. Lauren Stewart. Her research is investigating the use of a musical intervention for depressed and anxious pregnant women, andits effects on maternal antenatal mental health and infant cognitive and behavioural development.
Sherif Ejiwunmi holds a Business Info Systems degree from De Montfort University. He has always had a keen interest in IT and in the past has worked as an ICT Technician focusing on “The Cloud”. His final year project was a study that focused on Digital Currency (Bitcoins).
Gary trained as a music therapist at the Nordoff Robbins Centre in London in 1987, and later at the Institut für Musiktherapie, Universität Witten-Herdecke, Germany. He has worked with many client groups in the UK and Germany (currently in adult psychiatry) and has been involved in developing and researching Nordoff Robbins music therapy and its broader growth within the Community Music Therapy movement. From 1994-7 Gary was Research Fellow in Music Therapy at City University London, during which time he completed his doctoral thesis: ‘Music Therapy as Discourse and Discipline’. In 2002 he established the Research Department at the Nordoff Robbins Centre in London. Gary designed the first music therapy doctoral programme in the UK (also at Nordoff Robbins), and also the new MA in Music Therapy (Community Music Therapy / Nordoff-Robbins) which launched in 2008 and is hosted at the Royal Northern College of Music. He is Honorary Research Fellow in Community Music Therapy at the University of Sheffield, and a member of the advisory editorial board of three journals: British Journal of Music Therapy, Nordic Journal of Music Therapy, Music & Arts in Action. In 2008 he was awarded the Royal Society for Public Health Arts & Health Award. He has written five books and published widely in the fields of music, music therapy and music and health/wellbeing.
Mercédès completed the Nordoff Robbins London training in London, and her doctoral studies at the Department of Psychology with Colwyn Trevarthen in 1991. As a music therapy practitioner she has worked with children, adults and older people in a range of institutional and community settingsin Scotland, South Africa, and the Lebanon. Mercédès co-instituted South Africa’s first accredited music therapy training programme and was director of the Master’s Music Therapy programme at the University of Pretoria until 2006. She has been involved in training community musicians and arts workers in South Africa and the Lebanon; and was for several years the arts therapies representative on the South African Health Professions Council. She is Research Associate at the School for Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London, is past African editor of VOICES (until 2006), and chairs the Nordoff Robbins Research Committees. She is the author, co-author and editor of several key music therapy publications.
Occasionally there are research internship opportunities at Nordoff Robbins. These internships offer a unique opportunity to recent graduates or early career researchers to work alongside an experienced research team. We have people interning with us with a range of specialisms, experience and interests.
If you are interested in applying, please email us at email@example.com.
Previous Team Members
Camilla trained as a music therapist at Nordoff Robbins (London, UK) after reading Music at Christ's College, Cambridge University and studying the cello and piano at the Royal Academy of Music. Her research interests are in musical interaction, music improvisation, music and speech, and evaluation of music therapy services. She works as Research Assistant to Prof Sarah Hawkins at the University of Cambridge for a project examining turn transitions in musical and verbal interaction, and is commencing her doctoral studies in October 2016 at Christ’s College, University of Cambridge, supervised by Prof Ian Cross and Dr Neta Spiro.
Giorgos trained as a music therapist at the Nordoff Robbins Centre in London, having a background as a special needs teacher and musician. He is the founding Editor-in-Chief of the open access, peer-reviewed journal Approaches: Music Therapy & Special Music Education, and is a member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Community Music. He serves as the coordinator of the Research Network of the British Association for Music Therapy (BAMT) and he represents the Hellenic Association of Certified Professional Music Therapists (ESPEM) at the European Music Therapy Confederation (EMTC). Giorgos is coordinating the monitoring and evaluation projects of Nordoff Robbins, and over the past years he has been involved in developing a range of research resources, including the Nordoff Robbins Evidence Bank and the International Index of Music Therapy Organisations (IIMTO). He currently conducts his doctoral research at Nordoff Robbins (Goldsmith’s, University of London). As a music therapy practitioner, Giorgos works with terminally ill people and bereaved families.
Charlotte completed her BA in Music at the University of Leeds before studying for an MA in Music as Development at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. During the MA she was a part-time intern with the Nordoff Robbins research team. In 2014, she moved to South Africa to work with MusicWorks, an NGO based in Cape Town that runs community music and music therapy projects for infants and young people living in marginalised communities. In 2015, she returned to Nordoff Robbins, where she currently works as a Research Assistant.